September 16, 2010
by Mark Nesmann
Do you question authority? Fail to accept conventional wisdom? Lose your temper when you hear a politician make a promise that you know he or she can’t keep?
If so, you may be mentally ill, according to the most recent revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). In this revision, psychiatrists hope to add dozens of new mental disorders. Unfortunately, many of these so-called illnesses target people who merely think or behave differently from the majority population.
A case in point is “oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).” DSM defines ODD as “an ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior toward authority figures.” Symptoms include losing one’s temper, annoying people and being “touchy.” Other “disorders” include antisocial behavior, arrogance, cynicism and narcissism. Sounds like many of my readers!
While diagnosis of ODD “victims” focuses on children, there’s no reason why ODD can’t exist in adults. Indeed, ODD can evolve into “conduct disorder” (CD), which DSM defines as “wherein the rights of others or social norms are violated.”
Uh-oh. So violating “social norms” is now a mental illness as well.
Let’s connect the dots, shall we? There’s a long and sordid history of governments using psychiatry for political repression. In the Soviet Union, thousands of political prisoners were detained in mental hospitals. There they were isolated from friends and family, and many cases, forcibly medicated. Nazi Germany went even further: it murdered over 180,000 psychiatric patients.
Laws in most states allow child protective services agencies to forcibly medicate your children. Indeed, if you fail to administer drugs ordered by a physician or have your children submit to vaccinations, you can be imprisoned.
As The Washington Post observed:
“If seven-year-old Mozart tried composing his concertos today, he might be diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and medicated into barren normality.”
The conversion of personality differences into psychiatric disorders, and the forced medication of children, is a dangerous trend. It is but a short step to extend these laws to adults who have a pattern of “negativistic, defiant, disobedient and hostile behavior toward authority figures.”
I’d prefer a different approach: institutionalizing the psychiatrists that came up with all these new disorders. Perhaps we could call their condition “overmedication psychosis.” And those of us with ODD, CD, or who simply don’t like the government telling us how to live our lives could breathe a bit easier.
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